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I'm surprised when I write this review that it has only scored 3/5 stars on somebody else's as I cant recommend it high enough. This radio does everything you need it to do delivering a crystal clear sound in medium wave , long wave and in most FM stations. The volume will crank up to a respectable volume for a small radio such as this one. Its not the coolest looking radio in the world and I'm sure if you bought a Sony or a Panasonic it would look better but don't forget your buying it because of it's sound. It has a clear LCD display on it which displays what station you are listening too and you can save radio stations on the preset buttons so you don't have to go trawling through the stations finding your favourites. It is great radio because you can take it anywhere with you with it's carry handle and produces as a good radio should.
Digital radios are all the rage nowadays and more importantly, test match cricket coverage on Radio 5 Sports Extra is not interrupted by shipping forecasts at critical times like old fashioned long wave. Mrs Elefant likes Classic FM, so the investment had to be made. Compared with an ordinary radio it is by no means cheap, and we had to hope that the features and quality made it worth the price.
Physically it is substantially bigger than an ordinary radio - about a foot wide, 3 inches deep and six inches high. It is also quite heavy - portable, certainly, but you wouldn't want to go jogging with it. We tend to just park it somewhere when we're using it rather than lugging it around.
Ours is finished in silver and black, and has a handle which folds down behind the body when you aren't carrying it. The aerial pokes up at the back as well, and therefore gets in the way, so you have to fold it out of the way before you put the handle down, and then extend it again - a minor niggle, but I don't see why they couldn't have put it at the front instead.
The reason it's so heavy is that is full of batteries - 6 D size to be exact. The claim is that this will last 150 hours, however we haven't tested this as we nearly always plug it into the mains. The lead for this is a reasonable length which is helpful as it means you are rarely out of range of a socket. It is well built and sturdy, even with children often playing near it and knocking it over. Even the application of some paint to the front mesh (an accident, I am sure) hasn't caused any problems.
The front is covered with a wire mesh, and you can see the outlines of speakers behind this. There are plenty of controls on the top, with dials to alter treble, bass, volume, tuning, as well as preset stations. It is dominated though by a LCD screen about 4 inches long and an inch wide. This displays information about the station you're watching, and can also show other information. For example, during the cricket, it will scroll the latest score repeatedly, including the individual scores for the current batsmen; similarly for other sports. This is rather fun and quite useful as it means you don't actually have to wait for the commentators to stop wittering on about cakes before you find out what's going on. If you're on a music station it will tell you what track is playing, and the artist - very handy if you can't quite remember and the announcer doesn't tell you! An info button will let you skip through different sorts of information to be displayed, for example the time and date, frequency you're on, even whether it is in stereo or not.
One thing I've noticed is that it takes seemingly forever to turn itself on. When you press the on button, there is a delay of a few interminable seconds while it tunes itself, or picks up a signal, or something. OK, it's not a huge problem, but it is a little bit irksome. Also, it never seems to remember the side channels, so every time you turn it on you have to retune it - for example, if I've been listening to Radio 5 Sports, and turn it off and on again, it will start off with Radio 5, and I have to press the Up/Down button to get it to tune into where I want. I'm not sure whether this is an inevitable feature of digital radio generally, or just a slightly annoying implementation of the technology.
The sound itself is pretty good. It plays all sorts of music without distortion, certainly at the volumes we listen to it. Voices as well as music are crisp and clear, and there is none of the crackling that the old style radios tend to generate. So there may be something in this digital stuff.
When you first start the radio, it autotunes and detects all the stations it can. There are various ways of getting these, including assigning particular ones to the preset buttons and twiddling the tuning knob, which will produce a display of stations. There are only a handful that we listen to, and cleverly these will rise to the top of the list, so your favourites are always amongst the first you see.
This radio will also operate as a conventional FM radio and it's just the same as any other radio. It also has a line out socket for headphones.
Reviewing this has made me realise that there are probably a whole lot of features we haven't really used. As such it has been perhaps a slightly expensive way of getting good quality radio for a relative handful of purposes. Though I must admit I do like being able to listen to the cricket uninterruptedly.
I am slightly hesitant to recommend it; make no mistake, it's an excellent quality product, with many great features, especially the information display, but I have to say that the price we paid for it still makes me wince. You can get digital radios for much less, and I kind of wish we had. Hence my middle rating, as I don't think it's great value for money. Still, if you are after a top quality DAB radio, built to last and sounding great, this may be the one for you. If you just want to listen to the cricket, it would be cheaper to put up with hearing about the weather off Rockall every now and again!